Learning about Learning LO6700

Malcolm Burson (mooney@MAINE.MAINE.EDU)
Mon, 15 Apr 1996 10:57:31 -0500

Responding to LO6577 et seq.: was: Spirited debate on LO
[Subject line changed by host at Malcolm's request...]

I've had the interesting experience of leaving my subscription open during
11 days out of the country, and then reading through the approximately 35
digests that accumulated. During this period we drew the "Missing it?"
thread to a close, and wove into it the "Spirited debate on LO"

In reading the many postings associated with these, I found that while I
was sure I had something to respond to in one digest, sure enough a "day"
would pass, and one of you would put into elegant language just what I had
wanted to post. That, for me, implies a powerful sense of "implicate
order" (or least collective unconscious) being manifested on this shared
enterprise we call a list.

However, one thing is still missing for me in this/these conversation(s).
The many respondents, clearly "writing to their loyalties" and giving us
some good insight into their thought processes, have, from my point of
view, left aside that spirit of inquiry that for me usually produces the
most powerful learnings. We don't seem, in this particular case, to be
using disagreement as the opportunity to dig deeper, which for me is an
indicator that we're on people's "sacred ground" of beliefs and values.

A number of members have written to suggest that discussing our own
process isn't really relevant. I would beg to differ, since it seems to
me inherent in any learning organization approach that the process, as
well as the content, is fundamental grist for our mill.

I've been waiting for someone to ask the following, but will have to own
it for myself, I guess. I'd welcome Rick's re-naming this as a new thread
if he thinks it makes sense.

"What have we learned about learning from the conversations we're having
about our own process?" That is, taking together the materials on
individual learning styles (long posts v. short ones, etc.) and various
people's preferred approachs to conversations about ideas (debate, sharp
edges and conflict, dialogue, etc.), can we come to any generalizable
conclusions about learning in groups and organizations that we might take
off this table and and serve to others?

So I pose a question (or perhaps, several of them.) That for me is my
"preferred style" when I remember to do it! It's something I've learned
on this list from Rol Fessenden, among others. I tried an experiment last
week: to go through an entire 4 hour management team meeting of 12 people
by speaking only to a) ask a question; or b) respond as briefly as
possible to a question from someone else. No assertions, no debates, etc.
I wasn't entirely successful, but it certainly enhanced my sense of being
a listening participant. As Scott would say, "Try it--for the fun of

Malcolm Burson<mooney@maine.maine.edu
Community Health and Counseling
Bangor, Maine


"Malcolm Burson" <mooney@MAINE.MAINE.EDU>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>